Matt Coakley (left), Line Technician II, placed third in the Overall Apprentice competition while Evan Englert (right), Line Technician III, took first place in the Apprentice 90-Degree Crossarm Relocation event at the Public Power Lineworkers Rodeo. OUC’s rodeo team is led by Richard Boley, Lead Line Technician.

For Matt Coakley, it was about point-building consistency. For Evan Englert, it was an all-or-nothing approach to winning.

Both of their strategies paid off exactly as planned at the 2022 Public Power Lineworkers Rodeo, the national competition sponsored by the American Public Power Association (APPA). Competing in the Apprentice competition (lineworkers with four years or less of experience), Coakley placed third overall among 96 contestants, while Englert took first place in the 90-Degree Crossarm Relocation event. Their finishes marked OUC’s best showing in the APPA rodeo since 2016.

Coakley, Line Tech II, is a two-time Overall Apprentice trophy winner this year, having placed first at the Florida Municipal Electric Association Lineman Competition in February. Englert, Line Tech III, is believed to be the first OUC apprentice lineman to win a first place trophy at the national level. The APPA competition was held in Austin, Texas, in late March.

In the five 100-point Apprentice events, Coakley’s best performance was in the written exam, finishing sixth. He placed ninth in the Hurtman Rescue, 15th in Pole Top Pin Change Out, 17th in Double Dead-end Bell Change Out and 40th in 90-Degree Crossarm Relocation. He took third overall with 492 points and a cumulative time of 21:34.97, beating out two competitors with the same score but slower times.

“I just tried to be clean and consistent in every event,” said Coakley. “I’m very happy with my showing.”

Englert said he decided to focus his energies on completing each event as fast as he could, and it’s a good thing he did. His time of 2:11.44 was the best among 58 other contestants who also scored 100 points in the 90-Degree Crossarm Relocation event.

“After I got gigged [rodeo lingo for point deductions] in the hurtman rescue, I decided I would go all out and go as fast as I could from then on,” said Englert, a first-time rodeo competitor with only one year of line tech experience at OUC.

Led by Richard Boley, Lead Line Technician, OUC’s national rodeo team included two other apprentices and two, three-member journeymen teams.

OUC is evaluating options on sending apprentice representation to the International Lineman’s Rodeo in Kansas City, Kan., in October.